From Abel Leonard, Lafia
The Toto chapter of the Youth Assembly of Nigeria (YAN) along with other stakeholders in the mining sector have condemned an alleged illegal mining activity taking place in Toto LGA, Nasarawa State.
This is contained in a petition letter signed by Yusuf Omehi, Speaker, Abdulmutalib Adazigu, Deputy Speaker and Ismaila Shafa, Clerk of YAN, Toto Chapter and made available to Daily Sun on Sunday
YAN, in the letter dated June 22, 2022, addressed to the Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel Development condemned the alleged illegal mining activity of Joeffrey International Mining Limited with registration number RC1383854 at Gombe Village in Toto.
YAN accused the mining company of not obtaining clearance from relevant authorities including YAN before commencing mining and called on the Ministry to direct the company to vacate the site immediately.
“As a responsible umbrella organization saddled with the responsibility of protecting the rights and interests of all youths in Toto, we dont condone or aid illegalities and cannot sit by and watch strangers flood our farms, bushes and forests in their thousands in the name of mining, especially with the spate of insecurity ravaging all parts of the country.
“We, therefore, have not given any consent to the said Joeffry International Mining Limited and we are not going to give it,” YAN’s letter stated.
YAN added that it was aware of the Nigerian Minerals and Mining Act, 2007 and its compendium Minerals and Mining Regulations, 2011 which prohibits holders of exploration licence applicants from engaging in mining activities until the exploration leases applied for are granted.
“To our greatest dismay, however, the above exploration lease applicant has already commenced serious mining activities on the area using all kinds of labourers that to us are a clear security threat,” YAN said.
Read also: Bandits kill 5 vigilantes, 3 police officers in Kogi
Speaking in an interview with newsmen, Mr Musa Nasir, Chairman, Nigeria Union of Mine Workers (NUMW), Nasarawa state chapter also described the activities of Joeffry International Mining Limited as illegal and dangerous and urged the company to discontinue work at the site till it gets all the appropriate clearance to continue.
“I can authoritatively tell you that Jeoffry international is not a registered mining entity in Nasarawa state. So I have written to the ministry who is in charge of mining and also wrote to the executive governor of Nasarawa state on the illegality been perpetuated in his state,” he said.
Also speaking, A mining engineer who pleaded anonymity said the danger of illegal mining is that it can attract security challenges in the form of strangers visiting the area with the excuse of mining and creating different kinds of security challenges.
“When people come in illegally to do things, you cannot quantify the kind of security issues that will come up. Nobody has the right to mine there because nobody has been given a licence to mine there.
“So the state government can come in and ask the ministry to stop all mining activities in the area until all issues are rectified,” he said.
Responding to the allegations, Mr Jeoffry Sule, Director, Jeoffry international Mining Limited debunked the accusations and maintained that his company was a legitimate company carrying out a legitimate activity.
Sule added that he had licenses to back up his claim and allayed fears that his company’s activities will engender insecurity in the area.
Daily Sun reports that in response to the petition letter from YAN, a team of mining inspectors from the Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, Nasarawa state office in Lafia led by Engr Gideon Lazarus visited the site on Friday, June 29th and carried out investigation on the allegations levelled against the company.
The team however refused to reveal the outcome of its investigation, adding that it will only reveal its investigation after a proper report has been written and submitted to the Federal Minister of Mines and Steel Development.